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Stitches – A Story About Passion

Hey folks,

now this one is very special for me. My dear uncle requested a story about him, which may support him in building interesting new connections and opportunities, to take his passion to the next level. His passion, which is to knit beautiful little masterpieces on his vintage unpowered knitting machine.

I was glad he asked me, as I´m always looking for inspiring stories to tell. And this one, at least to me, is both meaningful and inspiring. His story connects to all which my family went through over the past decades. Being forced to leave your beloved country as refugees means leaving back memories, expieriences, friendships, hobbies, passions. It also means to start off from close to zero, after you have earned a certain degree, a certain reputation and trust among people.

Yet my uncle did not let all of that slip out of his hands. As he saw the very same model of the vintage knitting machine he used in his brother´s factory back in Afghanistan, he could only buy it and restart winding the balls of wool.

I hope you guys enjoy his story and learn the same as I did: Life is waiting for us with lots of twists and turns which we do not expect, but in every stage there is hope, joy and opportunity.

As for the technical part, a lot of you guys may have just upgraded from your DSLR to something more fancy-ish such as the beautiful Canon C100, and maybe are looking for some quick but helpful tips for your post- workflow.

For projects which ask for more of a fancy look in terms of lighting and grading, I shoot uncompressed 4:2:2 on my Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle and grade my footage in Davinci Resolve. In this case, I had a simple lighting setup and wanted to have a quick and simple grade of my AVCHD footage inside Premiere Pro. Yet I still shot everything in Canon Log to have maximum latitude and some flexibility in post.

As for shooting Canon Log, you really wanna make sure you expose correctly. You can´t lift the lower midtones/ shadows too much as this would introduce a lot of noise, especially if shooting AVCHD on the C100 (the C300 is a bit cleaner). The guys from AbelCine recommend to expose a grey card around 32 IRE for interiors and 40 IRE for exteriors. The view assist also helps in deciding when to go up or down a bit, especially to get a proper exposure in skintones.

Below are some examples for Canon Log straight out of the cam, and the graded version on the right.

In Premiere Pro, I start with roughly balancing my shot with the white balance tool in the Quick Color Corrector:

After that, I adjust the levels with the Luminance Curve to achieve some good overall contrast.

So now for building the look I go with the RGB Curves, which are incredibly flexible to achieve all kinds of different looks. In this case, I added some pop and contrast by adjusting the main tone curve, fading off the highlights to get a nice, smooth rolloff. To get a sort of a slightly cross-processed look, I gave the red channel a slight s-curve and lifted the shadows a bit in the blue channel. I tend to like a bit of a magenta tint in the darker areas of the skintones (depends on the type of skin), so I lowered the lower midtones on the green channel:

To finish up the look, I applied an Unsharp Mask (use a radius between 0,3 and 1 when shooting people) and dialed down the saturation to -20 with the HSL control:

So, this is basically it, except for digging deeper in the highlight control in a few shots. Even with the 12 stops of dynamic range you get by shooting in Canon Log, you may find yourself struggling with some blown out highlights with sharp, ugly edges, especially in windows. To fix this, just grab the upper point of the Luminance Curve and fade down the highlights:

before: (note the sharp blownout edges in the window)

and after:

And one more, before:

and after:

Of course you could prepare for that by using some fog filter such as the Tiffen Pro Mist and stuff. But for the quick and dirty jobs, that´s a solution.

I hope this helps!



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